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PhD position

Sonification in Air Traffic Control

Starting date


Duration of contract

3 years


according to the German TVöD 13

Type of employment


"Cutting-edge research requires excellent minds – particularly more females – at all levels. Launch your mission with us and send in your application now!" Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund - Chair of the DLR Executive Board

The Institute of Flight Guidance analyses various questions concerning highly automated air traffic controller workstations with different sensory modalities. As the visual channel of the controller for acquiring display information is often already at the limit of its capacity, the use of the auditory channel is intended to provide relief.
Monitoring of the traffic situation and the estimation of future conditions is essential for the controller. However, this requires attention at the right time and at the right spot of controller displays. In the future, the controller's attention should be smoothly directed by using dynamically composed sound sequences. In the case of highly automated systems, the sound sequence may allow attention to be directed towards possible problem areas even in the case of strong distraction.
With the system to be developed, the current situation as well as possible courses of action can be presented in a musical - melodic - way. Thereby, the current distribution of attention respectively the attention focus of the operator should be taken into consideration for a non-intrusive attention control. By improving the operator's situational awareness, the efficiency of the traffic management system is also increased.

Your doctorate includes the following tasks derived from this:

  • familiarization with the theoretical principles of human-machine interfaces (HMIs) with focus on the auditory channel (psychological, system-ergonomic, technical, and informatics aspects) and the analysis of existing HMIs, familiarization with the basics of Air Traffic Control
  • creation of a sonification concept for the dynamic sounding of the current aviation situation and options for action as well as for auditory attention control
  • implementation of the sonification concept
  • preparation and implementation of a human-in-the-loop simulation study for validation of the concept
  • summary of the results, writing the dissertation

Your qualifications:

  • completed, scientific university studies in the field of computer science, human factors, aviation or related courses (Diploma/Master)
  • good programming knowledge (C++)
  • very good knowledge of the English language, written and spoken
  • ability to complete tasks independently and on time
  • good knowledge of air traffic control is a plus
  • musical knowledge is desirable

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (m/f/non-binary). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Jürgen Rataj
Institut of Flight Guidance

Phone: +49 531 295-2510

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Vacancy 48313

HR department Braunschweig

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DLR site Braunschweig

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DLR Institute of Flight Guidance

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